Beginning with Michigan State DT Malik McDowell with their first pick (35th overall) in the NFL draft, the Seahawks picked up four defenders plus an offensive lineman and a wide receiver.
After the Green Bay Packers started the second round of the NFL draft Friday by selecting CB Kevin King of the University of Washington, the Seahawks again traded down and selected DT Malik McDowell of Michigan State with the 35th pick. By making the trade with Jacksonville, the Seahawks picked up a sixth-round pick at 187th overall, giving them 11 choices in the final two days of the draft.
Seattle, which started the draft with seven selections, could have gone for several well-regarded offensive linemen or cornerbacks, the positions seemingly of highest need. Instead they opted for the 6-6, 295-pound McDowell, primarily a nose defender. Last season, McDowell had 30 quarterback pressures on only 206 pass-rush snaps.
“I didn’t cry, but I’m smiling from ear to ear,” McDowell said via teleconference from Detroit. “I know a little bit about the Seahawks, not a lot — the 12th Man.
“They brought me in for a visit. They liked me, but there wasn’t much from them. They played it really cool. I’m just really excited to be here.”
Of his reputation for inconsistency, he said, “I’m motivated. Just ready to come down there and play for the 12th Man.”
The Seahawks had been linked to King in many mock drafts, but the Packers snatched him two picks before Seattle landed McDowell.
“This feels great,” King told the NFL Network from draft headquarters in Philadelphia. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I came here to walk the stage and get my hat. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I was going to get picked.
“The Packers are getting a leader and a playmaker and somebody who will contribute from day one,” added King.
With the pick immediately following Seattle’s, NFC West rival Arizona selected Washington FS Budda Baker at No. 35. Philadelphia then selected ex-UW cornerback Sidney Jones at No. 43, giving the Huskies four picks (WR John Ross went No. 9 overall to Cincinnati Thursday) among the first 50.
Jones probably would have been a first-round pick if he hadn’t torn his Achilles tendon during Washington’s pro day. He isn’t expected to be able to play until September.
The Huskies are the first school in NCAA history to have three defensive backs selected in the second round of the draft.
After the trio of Huskies went, the Seahawks came up again at No. 58 (second round) and selected Ethan Pocic, an All-America center at Louisiana State last season. They followed with CB Shaquill Griffin of Central Florida with the first of four picks in the third round, and then selected Michigan safety Delano Hill at No. 95 overall.
The Seahawks concluded their Friday by taking North Carolina DT Nazair Jones at 102 and Michigan WR Amara Darboh at 106.
Seattle will have five draft picks Saturday, one in the fourth round, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Round 2 (35th overall) — DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
A two-time, second-team All-Big 10 selection, McDowell had 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss last season for the 3-8 Spartans. He missed the season’s final three games with an ankle injury.
NFL.com: McDowell is an explosive, ascending prospect with All-Pro potential if he grows into his body and takes the necessary coaching. He has a chance to be a dominant player. It hasn’t turned on for him all the way yet. But if it does, he could be like Mario Williams. He’s just a little lazy and the question is whether he is going to be a self-starter.
Pro Football Focus: A nose tackle, McDowell’s length and agility are better served out on the edge. He can also use more of his pass-rush moves when lined up outside, including his most consistent long-arm stab pass-rush move and his counters off it. Biggest knock: Doesn’t hold up well on double-teams inside . . . Player comparison: Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals.
Round 2 (58th) — C Ethan Pocic, Louisiana State
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Pocic projects best at center, according to scouts, but the Seahawks already have Justin Britt and introduced Pocic at the draft as a tackle. Pocic, who has experience at all of the offensive line positions, was a third-team Associated Press All-America selection last season and a first-team All-SEC choice. He started 12 games in 2016, 11 at center. He was a Rimington Trophy (best center in the country) finalist and played 42 career games.
“It’s crazy — I kind of went into shock there when they picked me,” Pocic said via teleconference. “To be drafted by the Seahawks is amazing. To play for Coach Carroll, I couldn’t be happier. I’m fired up. I’m ready to go.”
Pocic said he didn’t work out or interview with Seahawks line coach Tom Cable, but did say he did a lot of zone blocking, a Cable staple.
“That’s what we ran at LSU, so I’d say that’s one of my strengths,” he said, “then pass pro, filling up the inside, that’s what I did well.”
Asked for a comparison to an NFL player, he said Britt.
“Honestly as a center, I thought I was kind of like Britt,” he said. “He’s a taller guy, he’s a good athlete.”
But since Britt is entrenched at center, the likelihood is that Pocic will compete at right tackle, where Garry Gilliam was lost in free agency, and Germain Ifedi, last year’s right guard, is the heir apparent.
“I think I can play all five in my mind,” he said. “I kind of consider myself just an O-lineman.”
NFL.com: Has played tackle, guard and center . . . Flexible, natural athlete with starting experience all along the LSU offensive line. Scouts say Pocic has the intelligence teams look for from a center and was highly regarded by LSU coaches and teammates in the locker room. Pocic is an excellent “work-up” blocker with the ability to thrive in a running game that operates in space, but his lack of power will produce some extremely challenging matchups for him at times.
Pro Football Focus: Best position fit is center . . . No. 3 grade among Power-5 centers in 2016 . . . Played 16 snaps at left tackle and 44 snaps at right tackle . . . Quickness and athletic ability an issue; not great at changing directions . . . Uses size and strength to control blocks . . . Pocic does a lot of things well and his ability to make difficult reach blocks make him a fit in any scheme.
Round 3 (90th) — CB Shaquill Griffin, Central Florida
Griffin originally wasn’t invited to the NFL combine but secured a late invitation and wound up running a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, fastest among all defensive backs who tested in Indianapolis. Griffin played corner and safety at Central Florida. He is the earliest-drafted corner in the John Schneider-Pete Carroll era in Seattle.
“As of right now, I’m strictly a cornerback,” he said. “But I did play safety in my junior year, like four games. As of right now I’m sticking to corner, but if I had to transition to safety, I definitely would play it when I have to.”
NFL.com: Has good size and strength. Has a disruptive punch and feet to impede in press coverage. Loose and athletic in his movement. Long speed is average and will allow some vertical separation against speedsters. Griffin plays the game with an aggressive tilt both in coverage and in his run support. Griffin has good ball skills with a closing burst to challenge throws. His anticipation is just average and he may not be able to play off of receivers and still be as effective with his ball production.
Pro Football Focus: Projects as an outside cornerback, with experience at safety . . . Impressive athlete, ranking among top five among cornerbacks at the scouting combine in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump and 60-yard shuttle. He ticks all the boxes teams are looking for in an athlete.
Round 3 (95th): S Delano Hill, Michigan
A four-year letterman, Hill appeared in 46 games for the Wolverines, making 26 starts at safety. He made second-team All-Big 10 as a senior in 2016, when he started all 13 of the team’s games. He had 10 solo tackles against Michigan State Oct. 29.
NFL.com: At 6-1 and 215 pounds, he has the physical demeanor to get a quality look from a team as a box safety, but his lack of coverage quickness and ball production won’t help his chances. Hill will have to open eyes on special teams and as a lights-out, downhill tackler to become an NFL factor.
Pro Football Focus: Ranked 10th in tackling efficiency among all safeties in 2016 season . . . A unique prospect because all of his combine measurements are truly representative of his film. He ran an official 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and that solid straight-line speed is apparent from his reel . . . uses his size and natural strength well when attacking blockers at the line of scrimmage.
Round 3 (102nd) — DT Nazair Jones, North Carolina
Jones (6-5, 304), a junior, made third-team All-ACC last season after recording 70 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. He will play in the Seahawks interior line.
NFL.com: Has good size with long arms and thick lower half. Play strength is above average . . . Instincts and awareness are below average . . . Can be slow to find the football. Fooled by misdirection, play-action and screen passes . . . Jones’ strength is his ability to play the run and he could be a physical fit for 3-4 teams looking to add a run defender. His inability to get the quarterback will cap his draft slotting but he does have pro potential.
Pro Football Focus: Totaled more run stops over three seasons (58) than combined pressures (43) . . . Excellent instincts, able to identify run concepts by formation . . . Lacks a variety of pass-rush moves, not particularly athletic and leveled off in 2014 and 2015, never took the expected step forward.
Round 3 (106th) — WR Amara Darboh, Michigan
Selected second-team All-Big Ten last year after catching 57 passes, seven for touchdowns. He accumulated 2,062 yards during his career and scored 14 TDs, making at least one reception in 33 consecutive games. He also played special teams.
A native of Sierra Leone in West Africa, he escaped civil war, which killed his parents, at age seven with siblings, who made it to the U.S. He became an American citizen in September.
NFL.com: 6-foot-2 and 215 with above-average arm length. Experience in Michigan’s pro-style passing attack . . . Saw increase in targets and responded with improved production. In 2016, had at least one catch of at least 30 yards in eight of first nine games, outplaying highly regarded teammate Jehu Chesson. He will be a pretty good pro.
Pro Football Focus: Made a lot of contested catches against tight coverage . . . Will take big hits over the middle of the field to make tough catches . . . Inconsistent catching passes that are slightly inaccurate . . . Not spectacular after the catch.
Seahawks 2017 draft picks
|2||35||Malik McDowell||Mich. St.||DT||6-6||295||6.22|
|3||102||Nazair Jones||N. Carolina||DT||6-5||304||5.52|
The grades in the far right column in the chart above are NFL.com’s projection of a player’s potential career arc. What the grade ranges mean:
9.00-10: Once in a lifetime player
8.00-8.99: Perennial All-Pro
7:50-7.99: Future All-Pro
7:00-7:49: Pro Bowl to All-Pro ability
6:50-6.99: Good NFL starter with Pro Bowl potential
6:00-6.49: Chance to become good NFL starter
5:70-5.99: Could become early NFL starter
5:30-5:69: NFL backup or eventual starter
5:15-5:29: Developmental potential or special teams prospect
5:01-5:14: Back end of the roster
5:00: 50-50 chance of making a roster